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Kilchurn Castle, Loch Awe, Dalmally, Argyll, Scotland
Kilchurn Castle, Loch Awe, Dalmally, Argyll, Scotland

Holiday Cottages in West Central Scotland

Western Central Scotland - a feast for the eyes and stomach!

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It isn't merely a luxury to step out of your busy, stressful life and into a relaxing holiday in West Central Scotland, it's virtually a necessity. You will feel the weight of everyday pressures lifting as you immerse yourself in the culture and landscape of the area, breathing in the fresh air by the banks of Loch Lomond, sighting rare and magnificent wildlife in the Trossachs National Park, or wearing out your wallet in Glasgow's shops and restaurants.

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Argyll and ButeLoch Lomond and Trossachs National ParkStirling
 

Argyll and Bute

Ferry crossing the Kyles of Bute, Argyll and Bute, Scotland
Ferry crossing the Kyles of Bute, Argyll and Bute, Scotland

The beauty of Scotland's islands reaches its peak in Argyll and The Isles. More than three thousand miles of unspoiled coastline means there's always space for you to settle down for the day with a picnic, while those who crave even more solitude can visit one of 25 uninhabited islands. As you hike deserted trails and marvel at the diversity of wildlife, you'll find it hard to believe that Glasgow, the 2008 UNESCO City of Music, is less than an hour's drive away.

The islands around here are also known as the Inner Hebrides, and are easy to explore with the regular ferry service, island hopping between Mull, Oban, Iona, Saffa, and Ulva. Tiree has some of the best surfing in the UK, and there are many other water sports on offer if hanging ten is not your thing. Islay is especially well known for the quality of its malt whisky, with eight distilleries waiting to introduce you to its peaty delights. Take a tour to see the Corryvreckan Whirlpool, just off the island of Jura. It's the world's third largest and a sight you will never forget.

Bute is the antidote to humdrum and mundane routines! The island may be small (just 15 miles long and 4 miles wide), but it's full of Scottish wonders. Step off the ferry and admire the many gardens, listen to the pipe bands, and cheer on your favourites at the Bute Highland Games. Bute Museum in Rothesay gives a comprehensive look at island life and history, which dates back more than 8,000 years.

The Inner Hebrides has something for every lover of the great outdoors, whether you get your kicks jumping off cliffs, or prefer to appreciate the landscape from a comfy chair. You'll return to your normal life refreshed, with a head full of memories of this incredible place.

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Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park

Looking over the waters of Loch Lomond, Scotland
The magical waters of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park

There are so many ways to describe the beauty of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Majestic. Glorious. Awe-inspiring. Whatever superlative you choose doesn't matter because they are all befitting of this magnificent part of Scotland. It's perfect for being active outdoors with a wealth of fantastic mountain biking trails and footpaths. The Three Glens Route presents a challenge for experienced riders who are rewarded for their efforts with great views and an exhilarating descent via Gleann Dubh into Glen Dochart, while hikers can easily wear out their favourite walking boots exploring the numerous routes through woodland, across moors, up hills and around the lochs like Loch Katerine.

Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park is as far removed from city living as you can get without being a hermit and you will revel in the sense of space and freedom. That doesn't mean it's not without civilisation. Aberfoyle, Callander, Lochearnhead and Balloch cater well for the locals and tourists. The quality of the local produce makes self-catering a pleasure. Try locally reared beef and game, and the quality of the salmon is unbeatable whether you catch it yourself or eat somewhere like Luss Seafood Bar.

If you want endless shops, traffic and crowds, then Loch Lomond and the Trossachs is not the holiday destination for you. However, if you want to wake up to beauty every morning and a day full of potential for discovery and fun, then head north and don't stop until you get there.

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Stirling

Cow looking over wall with Stirling Castle behind, Scotland
Stirling Castle, Scotland

If your entire knowledge of Scotland boils down to two hours of Braveheart, Stirling is the place for you. This is William Wallace territory, where you'll find an inspiring monument to one of Scotland's most heroic sons. Put yourself on the battlefield at Bannockburn at the incredible Battle of Bannockburn Experience, and pretend you're living in the 1500s in Stirling Castle. Go one step further into the past on a walking tour of the town or - not for the faint hearted! - a ghost walk.

You can't escape the heritage of Scotland's Wars of Independence here, but that doesn't mean Stirling is stuck living in the past. The city has a staggering array of historical buildings, but feels anything but dusty and boring. Exhaust yourself sightseeing before reviving yourself with a fantastic meal in a first rate restaurant. Given that it's only half an hour from The Trossachs, a self-catering holiday cottage in Stirling makes good sense.

The kids may snigger when you tell them you're going to the Church of the Holy Rude, but they'll be impressed with the centuries of history within its walls - literally, in the case of bullet marks on the tower. It's a gentle walk away from Stirling city centre, over an arched stone bridge that crosses the River Forth. If they don't behave themselves, show them the gruesome beheading stone in the city centre, or pop into the 500 year old prison cell that has been incorporated into the Thistles shopping centre.

It's impossible to escape Stirling's history as you tour the city, and why would you want to? The fierce spirt of its people has helped make Scotland the fantastic country it is today.

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